By: Shelby Hillers
Despite the rain, fog, and cold weather, the Western Maryland Independent Lit Festival 2013 continued on and showed just how dedicated readers and writers are.
The Festival featured two events. The major event, The Press Festival, took place on East Main Street in Frostburg, Maryland on Saturday, October 12 from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Featuring panels like genre specific writing, Publishing: A How to Guide, Marketing Your Work, and Future of Books for Readers, Writers, and Publishers, the Indie Lit Festival highlighted the relationship between a publisher and the writer. It’s often forgotten that both parties need each other in order to thrive.
The day before, Friday, October 11, featured a reading event that included Deena November from Hyacinth Girl Press, Phillip Terman from Autumn House Press, Nathan Leslie from Atticus Books, and William Hathaway from The Gettysburg Review. The reading event was held at Main Street Books, an amazing book store in town that features both independent and well-known publishers. Due to the rainy weather, the event was very intimidate and personal. It was a great chance to get to know both the publishers and writers. Every writer was thankful for their publisher and having the chance to share their works with equally enthusiastic readers and writers.
The main event, The Press Festival, brought together editors and publishers with writers and educators. The journals and presses that participated had tables where they displayed books, submissions guidelines, and other promotional materials like tee-shirts, book marks, and pens. The journals and presses’ tables were held in the Lyric Theater while the panel discussions took place along the buildings on Main Street.
Personally I used this chance to network and get to know other publications. During my time there, I met with Big Pulp, The Fourth River, Hyacinth Girl Press, The Idiom Magazine, and Ink Press Productions. All the editors with their journals and presses were amazingly friendly and gave insight into the community. And that’s really want these events are for. Sure, it was a great chance to spread the word about the publication I was with (Grub Street) but I also was able to talk to editors about how they reach out their readers and writers, what it’s like to be on a staff that constantly changes, and what genres need more attention. It’s being around book-loving fanatics that reminds me why I love the literature community so much. We geek out over books and that’s totally okay.
Shelby Hillers is the Online Assistant Editor for BrickHouse Books where she helps manage Facebook, Twitter, and the blog. She is a senior at Towson University majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing. Her works have been published by The Towerlight, Limerence Magazine, and TU Career Center’s co-written blog The Thriving Tiger.